I met an incredible singer songwriter called Emma Stevens last night when she played at the South Devon Arts Centre in the heart of Totnes. She was accompanied by the uber-cool guitarist extraordinaire 'Sam' (I didn't catch his surname...).
In her own words, "I write and sing haunting folk/pop with a twist and lots of sparkle. I play guitar, piano, ukulele, cello, banjo and mandolin".
I was fortunate enough to be sat in the sound booth where her beautiful voice and tender guitar/mandolin playing really shone through. Sam played wonderfully, his guitar solo on his legendary Telecaster prompting me to crank up his channel to make sure people took note.
I caught up with Emma briefly after the show and she told me of her surfing exploits in Croyde Bay and that she was staying in Totnes overnight, I promptly advised her to head up to the market on Saturday morning to indulge in what Totnes has to offer. Upon talk of a 'gong shower' (check Wikipedia) she got very excited and hoped that she may be able to indulge herself.....
I wish her and Sam well on the remaining dates she has booked, these are available from her Facebook page HERE
For people wanting to know more, here's her bio:
Emma began her musical journey when she was bought her first guitar at the age of 3, after being enchanted by her Mum’s playing. With Emma always singing and constantly wanting to join in and play too, her parents soon realised music would play a definitive role in her destiny. She began taking lessons in cello and piano, became a member of the Surrey Youth Orchestra and involved herself with numerous music clubs in and out of school. Constantly creating parts on any instrument she could get her hands on, and writing poetry in her bedroom, Emma combined the two and discovered the art of songwriting. Desperate to learn more, Emma enrolled at the Academy of Contemporary music, where she studied Guitar and Performance – this not only improved Emma’s confidence as a performer, but taught her valuable lessons as a songwriter.
As Emma’s skills on guitar developed, she began playing for artists and bands, including fiN., H- Boogie, and Ronit, this led her to touring worldwide with bands such as The Kooks, Mona, Feeder and Incubus. No stranger to the stage, Emma would often perform at arena style venues to up to 20,000 a night! This gave Emma a great deal of experience and a wonderful foundation from which to launch her solo career.
When she was discovered by music manager, Bob James – Emma’s songwriting career took off. She found herself working with established artists and songwriters all over the world, frequently making trips to LA, Nashville and Europe. Korean boy band “SHINee” released one of Emma’s songs on their album and it sold 100,000 copies in its first week of release, hitting the number 1 spot.
With a passion for performing, and longing to release her own music, Emma decided to concentrate on her career as a singer-songwriter. Her music is catchy and filmic, and has been used on TV, clients including BBC and ITV. She has also worked with artists such as Kate Nash, Passenger and Jenn Bostic, who she supported on her recent UK tour.
When Emma lost her Mum to cancer in 2012, she dealt with it in the only way she knew – through her music and songwriting. Emma planned a series of 4 EPs, each one with a unique and beautiful artwork designed by her Mum. Emma’s Mum made the designs as a gift to Emma, and completed them just two weeks before she died. When all 4 are collected they will fit together like a puzzle to make a larger beautiful painting. This combination of art and music typifies Emma’s unique approach to her work. Playing guitar, piano, cello, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, percussion and baritone guitar, all 4 EPs showcase Emma’s talents as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
“…Emma’s ability to produce her signature sound on whichever instrument she chooses impresses me to no end. That coupled with the soft tone of her voice suggests a successful artist career and one with longevity is part of Emma’s destiny…”
- Ross Gautreau, A&R Polydor Records
“Emma Stevens has a singular ability in her writing and singing to realize the pure heart and true intention of a lyric and melody. There is no artifice in her creativity, not in her hauntingly honest voice or melodic sensibility. Writing songs is so much of the time a collaborative enterprise and Emma, in our collaborations, has been as good as it gets: sensitive to the song and her song-writing partner.” – Charlie Midnight, Grammy Award Winning Songwriter & Producer